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Sep 1, 2011

Despite Questions Social Security Plans To Plow Ahead With $500 Million National Data Center

     From Gazette.Net:
Plans for a $500 million office building for the Social Security Administration predicted to bring 200 jobs to Frederick County are progressing after the recent sale of an Urbana property.
A letter from the Frederick County Board of Commissioners to the Social Security Administration on Tuesday expressed the county’s excitement over the project. ...
The new building is planned for use predominantly as a primary data operations center for the administration, along with some office space.The 400,000-square-foot building will incorporate sustainable technologies using energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, on-site renewable energy sources, water conservation, and the use of sustainable materials, according to the county’s letter.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2012.
      Meanwhile, Vivek Kundra, the Chief Information Officer for the Obama administration until last month, has written an op ed piece for the New York Times arguing that "governments around the world are wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary information technology" because of what he calls the "I.T. cartel ... [a] powerful group of private contractors encourages reliance on inefficient software and hardware that is expensive to acquire and to maintain." He argues for cloud computing, noting that the General Services Administration cuts its information technology costs by 50% using cloud computing. He states that cloud computing is "often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies." 
     This comes on the heels of the firing of Ephraim Feig, who had been Social Security's Associate Chief Information Officer for Vision and Strategy. Feig was apparently advocating the same position as Kundra. This also comes on the heels of news that the federal government is closing 800 data centers at the moment.
     As tight as money is at Social Security, there is an urgent need for a Congressional hearing on Social Security's planned national data center. I do not have the knowledge to debate the wisdom of building an expensive data center for Social Security but there is an obvious controversy that needs a public airing. There is too much money at stake not to fully explore the issues.

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  • 6 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Not only the money, but if what Mr. Kundra says is accurate, building a new center, and especially putting into place expensive hardware locks the SSA into this technology for too many years into the future.

    9:46 AM, September 01, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Let's put millions of people's Social Security checks in the hands of google or amazon, companies that didn't exist 20years ago and didn't offer 'cloud computing' services until the past 2-3 years. And on top of that, both companies openly exploit consumer data for thier own benefit. Who better to trust with critical data on every citizen? Great plan.

    11:21 AM, September 01, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    yeah and widespread public use of the internet did not begin until 15 years ago, yet ssa is pushing iclaims and total internet reliance. technology moves quickly so what is your point here?

    3:20 PM, September 01, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    How many outages has Amazon Web Services had in the last 6 months? Two multi-day outages that I remember.

    3:58 PM, September 01, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    SSA is already locked into outdated technology. I can't believe that almost all of the claims processing data entry screens are "green screens"... you remember the old computer screens of the 1980s and early 1990s that had black backgrounds and green letters. Completely inefficient and useless. Faster and better technology for processing field office actions would save lots of money and make processing time faster, easier to train employees, etc...

    1:30 PM, September 02, 2011  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I don't know about you guys, but I wouldn't want my personal data, SS#, medical records, etc. on some cloud server run buy a corporation...

    4:02 PM, September 02, 2011  

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